7 bears euthanized in Crowsnest Pass after human interactions – Lethbridge
As the hot weather dries out their food supply, bears in southwestern Alberta are making their way into communities within Crowsnest Pass.
And people feed them – intentionally or accidentally.
“The problem with that is we take these wild animals and turn them into habituated animals that are a threat to public safety,” explains Christy Pool, president of the Crowsnest Pass BearSmart Association.
Things like leaving trash cans outside overnight, neglecting pet food, or leaving fallen tree fruits outside can lead to the death of a wild animal, according to Pool.
“It’s so important to think about your actions and the effect they have across the board,” she pleaded.
“It’s so easy to keep things clean and contain food and waste.”
According to Pool, seven bears at Blairmore and Frank were euthanized within a two-day period this week after becoming too accustomed to being fed within the community.
“Over the years I think it’s usually maybe one, maybe two (bears),” she said.
Lisa Sygutek is a frustrated resident of Blairmore, Alta. She said she is no stranger to wildlife, having encountered numerous bears on walks and deer on her property. She tries to keep her area very bear safe.
In recent days, however, a bear in her yard has been a cause for concern.
“This is the first year it’s been abnormal for me,” Sygutek explained.
She posted a video on facebook shows the animal in a tree in her backyard. She said at one point that there were two cubs among them.
“This is the first time a bear looks at me and isn’t scared at all.”
Although Sygutek lives extremely close to a mountain, proponents believe that due diligence is necessary for all types of residents and visitors.
“It’s something we can avoid,” says former environmental and forest ranger Darryl Johnson. “Whether you’re a full-time resident here, a part-time resident here (or) a visitor here, understand that this is a community embedded in the mountains.”
Johnson added that he believes the loss of so many bears in such a short period of time is “unacceptable”.
According to Pool, a local conservation officer has handed out fines to people who violate city ordinances regarding feeding the wildlife and letting out attractants.
“I do know that fines have been imposed this year, but whether people take it seriously is the other part,” said Pool.
More information about bear encounters, attractants and deterrents can be found on the BearSmart website.